Neighborhoods worry about potential bus changes

In 2016, Sound Transit’s University Link light rail extension will connect the University District with Capitol Hill, Downtown Seattle, Rainier Valley and Sea-Tac International Airport. Both Metro Transit and Sound Transit are looking for ways to make the new light rail service sync most efficiently with the existing bus system.

So far, the organizations developed two alternative concepts for how the bus service could integrate with light rail. The proposals and alternatives are presented on the Metro website (, which also has a timeline for the implementation. Metro is encouraging the public to attend public meetings and submit concerns and questions.

However, many residents in the Queen Anne, Madison Park and Leschi neighborhoods — which share Route 8, among other routes — already have specific concerns and opinions about the proposed changes.


Queen Anne

Queen Anne resident Lynn Kohner has questions about the bus changes in her neighborhood, particularly Routes 26 and 28, which will be consolidated.

Furthermore, most riders don’t know about the changes, which is troubling, she said: “The people who know the system and use it will get cut out of the loop. It’s hard to get down to a level where people would actually find the info on Metro’s website. The info is out there, but it’s hard to access. It irritates me how the plan is being subtly hidden.”

Changes will most impact east Queen Anne, she speculated.

“In the proposal, there is a reduction of service on Aurora,” she said.

Glenn Avery, chair of the Queen Anne Community Council’s Transportation Committee said likewise that people don’t know about the changes: “People aren’t aware. Sound Transit doesn’t point them out. What Sound Transit does point out is usually exaggerated.”

However, the neighborhood recently got relief when plans to cut bus service that were going to be cut, were nixed.

“They were going to cut the [No.] 2 and cut back the [No.] 1,” he said. “But none of those are being done.”

With the passing of Proposition 1 last fall, Metro decided it could spare those lines, Avery explained.

The community council has been privy to transportation presentations.

“We have had a presentation on the different routes,” he said. “Sound Transit is looking at 15th Avenue and the tunnel.”

But in the long run, Avery is not optimistic about the plans.

“If you compare the number of riders Metro is currently carrying, there will be a net loss,” he said. “Right now, the buses are carrying more than they will when the changes [are implemented].”


Madison Park

Madison Park Community Council president Maurice Cooper said Metro is proposing to eliminate Route 11 and change Route 8 so it goes directly from Madison Park and then over Capitol Hill and onto Seattle Center.

“It might be useful but nowhere near as useful as the No. 11, which takes you downtown,” he said.

Cooper also said the change will impact the quality of people’s commute.

“What it really means for the residents of Madison Park is that you’d have to change buses, and changing buses can be a real pain, and it discourages people from taking the bus,” he said. “The main reason why people don’t like taking the bus is they have to be out in the cold and rain for random periods of time and wait for it. If they have to wait twice due to a transfer, ridership will drop off dramatically. I think it’s a mistake.

“We didn’t find out about this until pretty recently,” he added. “Metro says it needs a lot of community outreach but didn’t approach the Madison Park Community Council, which was a surprise.”

However, he noted that there have been opportunities for public comment.

Cooper went to a recent transportation meeting, which had about 20 people. He said he invited Metro to make a presentation to his community council “because [the changes] will impact the No. 11 bus pretty dramatically,” he said.

Cooper also said that Madison Park residents will receive no benefit from the changes, since they generally have no need for the light rail.

“What this has got to do with us is irrelevant,” he said. “They increased our taxes, but we got a reduction in service.”



Leschi Community Council co-president Diane Snell said her neighborhood had already experienced disturbing cuts within the last year.

“Last September, we lost our No. 27 bus,” she said. “We didn’t have an early morning, weekend or nighttime commute.”

It was difficult for the community that relies on the bus service.

“Geographically, Leschi is a very difficult area,” she said. “We have residents by the lake and a huge, steep hill to travel before getting to the rest of the community.”

But Leschi residents advocated for themselves.

“We fought and fought to get our bus back, and now the City Council says they’ll fully restore it in June,” she said. “We had lots of people fighting for us. We got support from everyone I could think of. We visited every Seattle City Council member.”

Moreover, residents will largely not use the light rail, she said: “The light rail is not a good option for us.…. We’re a small neighborhood. We don’t have a lot of people, and by cutting that bus, it was totally isolating the neighborhood.”

The cut especially affected residents who were disabled, she added.

According to Snell, Metro will have enough money by June from the $60 car tab fess to have contracts for drivers.


Public input

Metro encourages residents in all neighborhoods to attend meetings and submit input. Visit to view bus proposals and make your voice heard.


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